Does this bother anyone else?

October 29, 2014

This post is a little different from my past ones. I just want to see, what other people have to say about this. I want to talk about three things in particular that bother me, that I have spoken to people about lately.

Those three things are viewed faulty in my opinion, I am talking about monetization, simplicity, and docker replacing everything. (don’t get me wrong I love docker)

Monetization

I spend my summer at a large company in the silicon valley and stereotypically thought of some projects to work on with colleagues I met at that company. We thought of some great and some bad ideas, however, what I want to get to is monetization was always the first thing that was brought up to destroy an idea.

In my opinion a truly great product can find a way to monetize itself, maybe I won’t get rich that way, but I don’t need to. If my product can see the light of day and is useful to many people, then it was already worth developing it. Even if this is “just an open source project”.

A truly great product doesn’t just pop up. It’s years of experience and hard work. I realized that getting rich quickly is the main focus of many people in the valley. I think improving the world is what matters. This was definitly not the case for everyone, I also met a lot of great people, that were the complete opposite.

Simplicity

Simplicity is valued to be the greatest thing in the world and is the solution to everything. Simple code is better than complex code. Simple naming or abreviations are better than consice naming if they are shorter or if they align that way.

I care a lot about naming and, and I don’t mind short naming, but once “remove” becomes “rmv”, because it matches “set” in length, then we’ve gone to far.

My personal highlight about simplicity, was a talk at KeenCon by Jeff Norris, a Rocket Scientist at NASA. He talked about three stories, one of them about simplicity. He described how the first spacecraft that successfully reached the moon and back, was designed. (http://vimeo.com/106960949 19:00)

It was not simplicity that made is successful, it was very much the opposite. Part of the rocket rotated after it had left the orbit, the astronauts had to change their positions while that was happening. I really recommend watching that talk, it was very inspiring to me.

Holy Docker

As I mentioned earlier, I love docker, but I think it is sometimes viewed too much as the holy software solving everything.

For example many people I have talked to, tried to convince me, that it will kill configuration management. The concept of pre-built images certainly makes is much less painful, but I think they don’t see the whole picture.

How do those docker images get downloaded, their environment variables get set, and the containers are correctly linked.

Google is building Kubernetes, which makes this process even easier, especially looking at scaling your application, but again, even Kubernetes is not magically just there. Same goes for CoreOS, which I also like very much.

Lastly …

Now, I know that this kind of sounds like I had a bad summer, but that’s certainly not the case, there are just some of the controversial topics that came up. I loved the team I worked with and was happy that in the end we were actually able to ship our product.